Neuronal phosphoproteins. Mediators of signal transduction

Mol Neurobiol. Spring-Summer 1987;1(1-2):81-119. doi: 10.1007/BF02935265.


This article summarizes some of our knowledge concerning intracellular protein phosphorylation pathways in nerve cells. It also summarizes, very briefly, recent direct experimental evidence involving intracellular injection of protein kinases, protein kinase inhibitors, and substrates, indicating that protein phosphorylation mediates the actions of a variety of neurotransmitters on their target cells. Finally, it summarizes in somewhat greater detail the results of studies of three different types of substrate proteins that appear to regulate different types of biological responses in nerve cells: synapsin I, a substrate protein present in virtually all nerve terminals, which appears to regulate neurotransmitter release from those nerve terminals; the acetylcholine receptor, the phosphorylation of which regulates its rate of desensitization in the presence of acetylcholine; and DARPP-32, the phosphorylation of which converts it into a very potent phosphoprotein phosphatase inhibitor that may be involved in the regulation by the neuromodulator dopamine of the effects of the neurotransmitter glutamate. The identification and characterization of additional neuronal phosphoproteins can be expected to lead to the clarification of numerous additional molecular mechanisms by which signal transduction is carried out in nerve cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Synapsins


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Synapsins